Tracking Progress: Vision Zero Year Six

2019 marked the sixth year of the Vision Zero era and Bill de Blasio’s leadership as Mayor of the City of New York. While traffic fatalities in Queens remained sharply lower in 2019 than before the Vision Zero era, they have shown no downward progress in the past three years. In 2019, we also continued to see a rise in traffic injuries and flagging enforcement efforts.

Fatalities.  Total traffic fatalities in Queens have fallen by 28 percent, from 93 fatalities in 2013 to 67 fatalities in 2019. Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities have declined 26 percent from 54 fatalities in 2013 to 40 fatalities in 2019. Citywide, there was a 25 percent reduction in overall traffic fatalities over the same six year period.

The chart above shows the progress that has been made in reducing traffic fatalities in Queens.

A partial list of the neighbors that we lost in 2019 is provided here.

Injuries. In 2019, there were 2,627 pedestrians injured in Queens by motor vehicles, a decline of 6% from the Vision Zero benchmark year, 2013. There have been 832 injuries to cyclists, a net increase of 1% since 2013. Overall, including motor vehicle occupants, there have been 18,981 people injured in motor vehicle crashes in Queens over the past year, up 22% since 2013. Citywide, there has been a 10% increase in injuries over this time.

Enforcement. Overall, while enforcement of speeding, red light running, and not giving right of way to pedestrians remains significantly higher than pre-Vision Zero levels, tickets issued for illegal cell phone use, an important contributor to distracted driving, remains sharply down. Overall, enforcement across all four categories in Queens is up 27% since 2013, which matches the growth in enforcement citywide. Overall, the level of enforcement in Queens according to these measures was about 8% higher than in 2018, largely due to a surge in ticketing for Failure to Yield to Pedestrians over the last four months of the year.

For its own Vision Zero analysis, the city tracks a broader list of six categories of traffic violations, including Improper Turn, and Disobey Sign/Traffic Control Device. Including these additional categories shows that the overall effort of police officers in Queens toward ticketing motorists for dangerous and reckless driving behaviors is no higher today than it was in 2014 (see chart below).

A tremendous success of the past year was the passage of a new legislation in Albany authorizing more urgently needed traffic safety cameras for the city. But we continue to urge the NYPD to work more urgently to increase its focus on enforcement, and NYCDOT to accelerate the pace of street redesigns, so that we can make more rapid progress toward safer streets.

Full detailed report, with results by community board, available here.